Three discs from the Maraca Collection: Chapter Four

Welcome back to another trio of compact discs from my dusty racks…gotta clean the condo soon, Mom is coming over for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday…where I found them, and why I purchased them.

I just finished listening to Eddie Trunk’s show on Sirius/XM Volume. He loves CDs and takes offence when music journalists and fans claim the format is dead…and do so while pointing to the over-hyped vinyl resurgence.

Agree with you Eddie. Compact discs are much easier to handle and last longer. The small size of the cases meant smaller covers, harder to read liner notes and sometimes folded posters, and those full size extras were the features that made us long for vinyl.

Just not the scratches, warps and skipping.

My previous choices have been rather eclectic. Today, when I closed my eyes and ran my fingers along the CD cases, I ended up with three rock and roll albums.

Batting first…

Silent Radar by The Watchmen (1998)

When the Winnipeg alternative rockers released this record, I was living in Owen Sound, Ontario. For non-Canadian readers, Owen Sound is 100 miles north of Toronto and, at the time, did not have a rock radio station.

The region was radio deadsville, nothing but soft rock, country and oldies.

It wasn’t until several years later that I heard the single, Stereo, on Sirius/XM. Loved it, and found Silent Radar at Randy’s Records in downtown Owen Sound. If I recall, Randy didn’t put price stickers on his products. You’d have to hold it up and wait for him to say…

“Asking $7 for that one.”


MTV Unplugged by KISS (1996)

As I’ve written in previous blog posts, I’ve never really cared for unplugged albums. I’m a rocker. To quote KISS, I love it loud…and played on electric guitars.

So why did I grab this disc at Randy’s Records?

Maybe it was the reuniting of the four original members for tracks 18-21. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons on all songs, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss on 2,000 Man, Beth, Nothing to Lose and Rock & Roll All Nite.

Most diehard KISS fans prefer the ’70s version of the band with Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter. I also enjoyed their ’80s non-makeup period. There were some great songs on Lick It Up, Animalize and Hot In The Shade.

I haven’t listened to this album in ages but I’m betting Stanley’s vocals sounded much better than they do today. If you’ve seen recent Youtube concert videos of KISS, Paul’s voice seems to be shot and he croaks through the hits.

As Stanley said recently, “If you want me to sound like I did on KISS Alive II, listen to KISS Alive II.”

Good luck on the “farewell” tour, you’re going to need it. Drink plenty of herbal tea.

The Best of Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks (1990)

While The Hawk and his band (featuring young Canadians like Robbie Robertson who went on to become “The Band”) gave us some fine rockin’ tunes, the reason I purchased this on Amazon was…


In the late ’60s, the CRTC mandated that Canadian radio stations had to play at least 30 percent homegrown talent. The MAPL system (Music, Artist, Performance or Lyrics by a Canadian, had to have two of’ ’em to qualify) that program directors came to love so much.


Hawkins hailed from Arkansas but moved to Canada in the late ’50s.

My program director let me get away with 25 percent Can-Con since Johnny Maraca’s Rock and Roll Riot (originally Roots of Rock and Roll) ran after 7 pm on a Sunday.

So, Ronnie Hawkins and Jack Scott helped me hit 25 percent, along with early Guess Who and the jump blues albums by Colin James.

That’s it for this edition. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon.


About johnnymaraca

sole proprietor of Maraca Media, former radio host (Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot), copywriter and producer and a print journalism grad.
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